Voice-Over Rates | Non-Union Voice Acting

by Jason McCoy

Updated August 2022

One of the greatest benefits of working as a non-union voice actor is that you're free to set your own voice-over rates.

But if you're unsure how to price your voice-over services or want ideas for setting your voice-over rates, this is the guide to help you.

Voice-over rates typically start at $100 and increase from there based on word count, finished minutes and usage.

How much to charge for voice over work?

It's important to note that non-union voice actors don't have required voice-over rates like union voice acting (see the voice acting rates for SAG-AFTRA union voice actors here). 

The goal of this guide is to simplify voice-over rates based on research, voice actor bids and typical project budgets.

Of course, non-union voice acting rates are negotiable by nature.

Voice-over rates and client budgets can vary based on the type of client, where or how the client hires the voice talent, where the voice-over will be used, the usage term, and the complexity of the script itself.

Having an idea of what to charge (especially if you're just getting started in voice-over) will help make sure you're not undercutting yourself or pricing too high either.

This voice-over rate guide and the categories listed will be added to, revised and improved over time.

The Simple Voice-Over Rate Guide

There are several ways to determine the rates you'll charge to record a voice-over, but we'll cover two: simple voice-over rates or complex voice-over rates.

The simple voice-over rate guide starts by simply asking:

Is this voice-over for broadcast (tv, radio, internet ad) or non-broadcast (elearning, ivr, etc.)?

If it's a non-broadcast voice-over, the rate is based on the word count or finished length.

Pretty easy right?

If the voice-over is for broadcast usage, the next questions are:

"Where will it be broadcast?" (local, regional, national, worldwide)


"How long will it be used?" (typically 13 weeks, 1 year, perpetuity).

Using the simple voice-over rate guide helps keep your pricing consistent, but can become way off for some niches (like audiobooks).

Simple Non-Broadcast Voice-Over Rate Guide

Finished Minutes

Word Count

Rate Range (USD)

0 - 2 minutes

300 words of less

$100 - $250

2 - 5 minutes

300 - 750 words

$250 - $500

5 - 15 minutes

750 - 2,250 words

$500 - $750

How to Figure Out Finished Minutes Based on Word Count

How do you know how long the voice-over will end up being?

You can determine the total length or "finished minutes" with some quick and easy calculations to come up with an estimate.

If you read the script at an average read speed, then you will read 150 words per minute.

So if you have a 7,000 word script and you read the script at a normal reading speed of 150 words per minute, you'll end up with approximately 46.6 minutes (7,000 / 150 = 46.6) of voice-over or around 47 finished minutes.

If the project requires you to read faster, you'll want to use something like 160 words per minute.

If you plan to read slower than normal, you'll use a word-per-minute rate of 140.

This also means, a 60-second script should be around 150 words and a 30-second script should be around 75 words.

If there are more or less words, you can adjust your read speed accordingly to hit the correct timing.

For an even more personalized word-count, read a page from the actual script you are quoting for 1 minute. When 1 minute is up, copy the portion of the script up to the last word you read, paste it into a Word document or Google Sheet and check the word count. This will tell you how many words you read in 1 minute.

The Complex Voice-Over Rate Guide

The complex voice-over rate guide is a little more complicated. Rates vary based on the category of the voice-over.

Voice-Over Rate by Category

What kind of voice-over are you recording?

Audio Book Voice-Over Rates

Audio book voice-over rates for non-union voice actors typically range from $150 to $350 per finished hour (PFH) of audio. You can determine the estimated hours of finished audio by word count.

Here's the audio book voice-over rate formula you can use:



Total Word Count / 150 = Finished Minutes

Finished Minutes / 60 = Finished Hours

Finished Hours x $300 = Audio Book Quote

To help, here's an example voice-over rate for an audiobook:

Audio book voice-over rate example:

65,000 word audio book script

65,000 words / 150 = 433 finished minutes of voice-over
433 finished minutes / 60 = 7.2 finished hours of voice-over

7.2 finished hours x $300 = $2,160

In this example, the voice-over rate for this project would be $2,160.

e-Learning Voice-Over Rates

e-Learning voice-over rates are based on word count and include editing and saving several individual files.

The per word e-learning voice-over rate for non-union voice actors ranges from 20 cents (for basic scripts) to 35 cents (for technical scripts) per word for up to 50,000 words. If over 50,000 words, the bulk rate may be as low as 15 cents per word.

Since e-learning usually involves saving out hundreds or even thousands of individual files, an additional per file cost of $1 is normal.

If the client would like a live directed session while you record an elearning script, this would add a $150 per hour fee.

Here's the voice-over rate formula for quoting e-learning projects:



Total Word Count x $0.25 = e-Learning Recording Fee
# of files saved x $1 = File Split Fee
e-Learning Recording Fee + File Split Fee = e-Learning Quote

To help, here's an example e-learning project:

eLearning Voice-Over Rate Example:

35,000 word e-learning script, saved as 75 individual audio files.

35,000 words x $0.25 = $8,750
75 files x $1 = $75

$8,750 + $75 = $8,825

In this example, the voice-over rate for this project would be $8,825.

Explainer Video Voice-Over Rates

Voice-Over Rates for explainer videos is one of the easiest to quote.

An explainer video is usually up to 90 seconds in length, and a common rate is $300.

If you're recording more than one explainer video script in the same session, the rate per video is often reduced to $250 per video.



90-second explainer video (up to 225 words) = $300
2+ videos - $50 per video discount = $250/video

If script is over 225 words, the rate increases by an additional $50 per 100 words over.

Here's a very easy to follow example of an explainer video project:

Explainer Video Voice-Over Rate Example:

200 word explainer video script.

1 explainer video voice-over up to 90-seconds x $300 = $300

In this example, the voice-over rate for this explainer video would be $300.

Narration Voice-Over Rates

Quoting a non-broadcast narration typically takes two factors into consideration: the finished length of the voice-over & complexity of the script.

For a basic narration, the cost starts at $350 for up to 2 minutes of finished voice-over. The longer the script, the lower the per minute cost.

More technical scripts would see a 10% increase in rates.



Up to 2 Minutes = $350
Up to 5 Minutes = $450
Up to 10 Minutes = $550
Up to 15 Minutes = $650
Up to 20 Minutes = $750
Up to 30 Minutes = $950
Up to 40 Minutes = $1,250
Above 40 Minutes = $0.20 per word

For medical or technical scripts, add 10%.

To help, here's an example narration project:

Narration Voice-Over Rate Example:

2,872 word narration script.

2,872 Words / 150 = 19.15 Estimated finished minutes

Up to 20 Minute Rate = $750

In this example, the voice-over rate of $750 for up to 20 minute narration would apply.

Phone IVR & On-Hold Message Voice-Over Rates

Phone IVR and on-hold messaging voice-over rates start with a $150 minimum project fee and are usually based on word count or total length.



Up to 300 words = $250
Up to 1,000 words = $500
Up to 2,500 words = $750
Up to 4,500 words = $1,000
Up to 6,000 words = $1,250
Up to 30 Minutes = $950
Up to 40 Minutes = $1,250
Above 40 Minutes = $0.20 per word

To help, here's an example phone IVR project:

Phone Voice-Over Rate Example:

655 word IVR phone script for a local transportation company.

A script containing 655 words would fall within the Up to 1,000 words rate of $500.

If you're too high for a client's budget, you can also pro-rate: 655 words / 1,000 words = 0.655 x $500 = $327.50

Radio Commercial Voice-Over Rates

Radio broadcast commercial voice-over rates take in to consideration the area or market where the voice-over will be heard and the length of time the usage is granted.

These rates are for either a 30 or 60-second radio commercial voice-over. 



13 Weeks = $350

1 Year = $650

Perpetuity = $1,000



13 Weeks = $650

1 Year = $850

Perpetuity = $1,200



13 Weeks = $850

1 Year = $1,400

Perpetuity = $1,850

TV Commercial Voice-Over Rates

TV broadcast commercial voice-over rates depend on the market where the commercial voice-over will be heard and the length of time the usage is granted. 

These rates are for either a 30 or 60-second TV commercial voice-over. 



13 Weeks = $650

1 Year = $1,100

Perpetuity = $1,650



13 Weeks = $1,100

1 Year = $1,650

Perpetuity = $3,500



13 Weeks = $1,650

1 Year = $3,500

Perpetuity = $6,500

Video Game Voice-Over Rates

Video game voice-over rates are billed per hour with a 2-hour minimum and 4-hour maximum to prevent vocal stain.



2 hour-long session = $600

Web Broadcast Voice-Over Rates

Web broadcast commercial voice-over rates assume the voice-over could be heard anywhere in the world but the actual rate depends on the length of time the usage is granted. 

This would be ads placed on social media, YouTube, and streaming services.



13 Weeks = $500

1 Year = $850

Perpetuity = $1,500

What Voice-Over Rates would you like added?

Now you know how much to charge for voiceover.

Is there a voiceover rate category you'd like to see added?

Is there a rate you disagree with?

If so, be sure to leave a comment and let me know. 

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  • Hi Jason,

    Sometimes it is hard for me to give a quote.

    I have a project that’s for 1×30 seconds + 1x 15 seconds Digital & TV for 9 months for Other Country.
    How much do I have to give a quote for this project?

    I need your opinion.
    Thanks in advance!

    • It would depend on the country where it’s being used, but I would probably quote around $800 total.

  • Hi Jason,

    I have a project that’s for digital advertising, national (web, social, paid ads.) The ads are running for 3 months. It’s two 30-sec VO’s and two 15-sec VO’s.

    Based on your pricing model, would you charge $500 each? That seems high to me (but I also struggle with undercharging, ha!)

    Do you ever price differently if it’s a combined project, or still stick to individual pricing?

    Also, it’s for a client I’ve worked with before and we have a good relationship. Do you ever “bundle” the projects or give them sort of a deal if they are a long-standing client?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hey MJ!

      Yes, I would price it lower if it’s a package of multiple scripts. Yes, especially in the case of a long-standing client.

      Hope that helps!


  • Good day. What should I charge the client for Artistic Adjustments & Script Revisions?

    • If it’s an artistic change, I normally do 1 or 2 additional takes at no charge. Unless I feel it’s direction that should have been mentioned beforehand or if it conflicts with previous direction. If the script changes, I’ll consider the scope of the changes, how long it’s been since the project was completed, etc. to determine if I do it at no cost or charge a fee. If I charge a fee it’s around 50% of original project, up to full price, depending on the exact script.

  • Pelle Emil Rex Hebsgaard says:

    I would love to get some help in voice assistant work.

    Specifically it’s for a TTS voice assistant project requiring 100.000 words.

    Right now they are offering 7.000USD and I can’t seem to figure out if that’s fair or low?

  • Hi. I live in Turkey and just got offered a VO job for a major appliance brand advertisement. The distribution will be worldwide on internet, radio and TV. It’s a 30-60 second spot. The campaign will last one year. I do not have very much VO experience but did an ad for them that the like a few months ago. They are offering me about $1750 for job. What should I counter with?

    • It’s really up to you. GVAA rates say Worldwide is 3X National rate, which is $2,700 – $3,200. So that would be ~$8100. That seems too high to me. Maybe $3,000.

      • Thanks so much for your quick feedback. I said I’d do it for $2500. Let’s see if they hire me. I’ll let you know.

  • Which rate scale is appropriate for an audio book – approx. 70K words?

    • Audio book voice-over rates for non-union voice actors typically range from $150 to $350 per finished hour (PFH) of audio. 70k words is almost 8 finished hours of audio.

  • Hey Jason,

    I have a probably pretty stupid question that I couldn’t find the answer to anywhere though. Hope it’s OK to ask here.

    So far I’ve only completed voice over jobs with fixed prices per project so I always knew exactly how much to charge.

    I’m now about to start working as a regular voice actress for a company.
    Some of my work will be paid per minute, for other recordings they will pay me per 100 words.

    How much should I charge for a recording of e.g. 17:23?
    Do I request payment for 17 min, for 18 min, or for exactly 17 min + 23 sec?

    Also, let’s say I get a script of 2367 words.
    While having agreed on a certain amount per 100 words, it’s not difficult to figure out the amount per single word of course.
    So should I request payment for all 2367 words, or round to 2300 or 2400?

    I’d really appreciate your advice.


    • Hi Alice,

      For 17:23, I’d round up to 18. My thinking is it’s per minute or portion of.

      For words per 100, I would use the exact word count and prorate it. This can vary from client to client, so I would also consider checking with them to see what they’d prefer. The difference will be minor and they would probably appreciate you checking.

      I hope that helps!

      • It does, Jason, thank you so much!

        Actually I did check with the client. On two occasions, while also discussing other details.
        But either they didn’t get what I was on about or they’re not sure how they want it or it just slipped their attention, I don’t know.
        However, I tried twice and got no answer to that from them.

        I was already leaning towards what you suggested, so I’m feeling reassured now.
        That’s how I’m gonna do it.
        If it doesn’t sit well with them they can always complain, right?

        Again, thanks a lot for your help and all the best! 🙂

  • Hi Mark! Thank you so much for your insight! I was trying to find it, but I didn’t see anyone ask about what to charge when edits to your work are needed, specifically a :15 and :30 TV ad. Maybe I missed it?

    • For edits to a :15 or :30, charging for edits really depends on timing. If a client immediately has a minor change, I make the change at no cost. If the change happens more than 2 weeks later, then I would probably charge a minimum recording fee. You can set your min to be whatever you want but typically $100-$250. If the script has a major change, I may reduce it to 50% of the original cost or full price depending on the situation.

  • What is the rate for non finished per hour-
    Just raw files. (Mistakes cleaned up)

    • Hi Teresa, If mistakes are cleaned up I’d consider that finished. I don’t usually quote on non-finished. The closest thing would be quoting sessions (ie. 1 hour live session, 2 hour live session). In case it helps though, it typically takes 1.5 to 2 hours to record what ends up being 1 hour of finished audio. But this varies depending on script difficulty and how many mistakes you make.

  • Hi Jason,
    How much would you charge for a 60″ spot (internet + physical) and also with one year usage fee ?

  • Lara Norman says:

    Hi Jason. Quick question, how do I charge for voice assistant work?

    • Hi Lara, it really depends on usage and the type/length of voice assistant work. Can you give more details on a type of project you’re quoting?

      • Lara Norman says:

        The couple of jobs I’ve applied for have been TTS, between 10,000-20,000 words, surrender all rights to media in perpetuity.

        • For this, the budgeted amount I’m seeing most often is around $2,000 per finished hour. For the rights you’re granting though, I think anywhere in the range of $2,000 – $3,500 per finished hour is more reasonable.

  • Seeing a lot of requests for speech to AI. What would would be a good rate for that. I am guessing that it depend on what kind of text you are reading, right? Your recommendations are welcom

    • Good question! These are typically long form scripts. So I would use elearning rates as a base but increase them since it’s Text to Speech usage. One recent budget I saw was $2,000 per finished hour.

  • Bruce Salsman says:

    Hi Jason,
    Always love your stuff! I didn’t see a Simple Broadcast Rate Guide. Did I miss it? Thank you!

    • Hi Bruce, Since broadcast has more variables, I would use the complex broadcast rates.

      • Bruce Salsman says:

        Thanks Jason! I appreciate it!

  • Lara Norman says:

    Hi Jason,
    Is online ad and video broadcasting the same?
    Thank you.

    • I would ask for clarification. You really just want to know whether or not they are paying for placement.

      • Lara Norman says:

        Absolutely. So I applied for a posted online ad VO and the budget for the company was $750, in perpetuity. But that seamed extreme low for a 2 min ad when I compared it to what it suggested here of $1500 for a web broadcast. So I was wondering if I missed something, like is there a difference between a “online ad” and a “web broadcast”?

        • In that case, it sounds like “online ad” and “web broadcast” are the same. As for the rate itself – rates will vary. It really depends on where the job came from.

  • Would you charge usage fee on top of the hourly rate for an audio book if the producer wanted ownership? and if yes how much?

  • Maria Renz says:

    This is wonderful! I am a radio host. However I would like to open my web site and offer my services as a recorder, or I shall say “voice over.”?
    I need all the help I can get. I have my own studio and I a looking to just record scripts, depending of what the client might need. I honestly do not want to deal with the local, regional, national radio voice overs, I honestly find it complicated, 🙁 sorry I might feel overwhelmed.
    Can I do this instead: Seeing your chart, I could charge 1-150 words=250 and 151-300 words=300 (according to the 10% increase).

  • Benjamin Mays says:

    Are these suggested rates for doing the work in your own studio?
    What would a reasonable rate be for a voiceover for a 10-20 minute tourism video be, if you were to go into the clients studio, where you are just doing the voiceover and no engineering?

    • Your rate would be the same either way. A tourism video would most likely fall under the Narration pricing.

  • Stephanie says:

    For something like an employee handbook, or an HR manual of some sort, would you go with something closer to the audio book rates, or the narration rates? It’s long and dry and about 25k words.

    • Hi Stephanie,

      Good question. I would go with the elearning rate but reduce the per word rate for long form content.

  • Tanja Moon says:

    Hello, what would be the going rate for toy company/manufacturer voice over work? (i.e. talking dolls/stuffed animals, interactive childrens audio book)

  • Wow, this is incredibly helpful, especially the way you give an example for each one. Thank you! Trying to translate the GVAA rate guide to my own rate card was proving very difficult for me. What would you charge for an on camera approximately 1 minute testimonial video used on a business’s social media pages?

    • Happy to hear it’s helped you Vanessa. I don’t do on camera work regularly so I’m not familiar with those rates.

  • Hey there! i got hired to do a voice over from a marketing company to do a voice over for a womens soccer campaign ad for real salt lake , they have worked with high teir clients such as nfl and well known soccer players, and wondering how much i should charge? any idea? not sure how long the ad will be but probably up to 2 min maybe. they have given me the script and reference videos as well.

  • Hi, What would be the rate of finished hour of TTS (text-to-speech) Recording?

  • Hey Jason,
    What would you quote for theme park character VO? Could be multiple parks. Could be recognizable parks.

    • Hi Mel, It would really depend on exactly how it would be used and how much work is involved.

  • Chaz Langley says:

    Hi Jason,
    I’m trying to find out the rate to charge a client for a National TV documentary show ala NatGeo, History Channel… It’s somewhat uncharted territory for VO but I have a manager for my singing vocal work. Two totally different rates and usage information.

    • Hi Chaz,

      For TV broadcast doc, it could range from $1k-$3k depending on length and channel.

  • How much would you quote for an NGO educational untimed?

  • I just got asked to quote a children’s online learning game. It’s 550 individual words and they asked me to split and label them into 550 separate files. I ended up timing how many words I would read in a minute (in this case 50 since there were pauses between them) so maybe the final recording would be around 11 minutes. Then I think I read somewhere that a per minute rate for eLearning would be $24 per minute which brings us to $264. But then I struggled, should I really charge them $550 MORE to split the files? How would you have approached the whole thing? I was honestly all over the place trying to figure it out.

    • Hi Robyn,

      I would give them a break on the file splitting since it’s so many. There are ways to automate the file splitting so it won’t take long to do. I probably would have used the simple rate guide – 11 minutes, maybe $500 and then $200 for file splitting.

  • I need to know what a basic non union hourly rate for TTS Voice Work would be ?

  • Hi Jason,

    This is an awesome and helpful guide! I was wondering if you are going to update the rest of the categories:
    Phone IVR & On-Hold Message Voice-Over Rates
    Radio Commercial Voice-Over Rates
    TV Commercial Voice-Over Rates
    Video Game Voice-Over Rates
    Web Broadcast Voice-Over Rates

    Please do. Thank you very much!

      • Mark Velasco says:

        Finishing this guide would be a tremendous help. Also, back in the Narration Voice-Over Rates, you have a word count of 2,872/150.
        Where did you get the 150 from? Thanks

        • Hi Mark,

          150 is the average number of words read per minute. I’ll definitely work to finish this voiceover rates guide as soon as possible. Is there a category you’re most interested in?

          • Mark Velasco says:

            I appreciate the reply. I’m looking for TV, Radio, & Web broadcasting rates. I see others list each one for Local, regional, and national for 3 different time frames more or less (13 weeks, 6 months, a year). Plus a buyout or perpetuity rate.


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